Stellar Knowledge Base

How to Recover Files Deleted from Time Machine External Hard Drive?

December 27, 2018     41418 views     0     0

Download the free trial version of Stellar Data Recovery Professional for Mac software and go through the systematic guideline listed in the succeeding section to recover files deleted (Backups.backupdb folder and enclosed files) from Time Machine hard drive.

Steps are as follows:

  • Launch the Mac File Recovery software. Select the type of data that you want to recover.
  • Select the Time Machine External Drive as your location since this is where you want to restore the deleted data.
  • Click Scan to start the scanning process.
  • After the completion of the scanning, the software lists the found files and folders in the Time Machine External Drive in a Tabbed view of scanned Tree – Classic List / File List / Deleted List
  • Select a file or folder to launch its Preview.
  • Select all the desired files or folders.
  • Click Recover and specify Destination to start saving the recoverable files.

Note: Try Deep Scan, in case the scan result is not satisfactory.


30 User Comments

Cris Marincat
July 2, 2015 02:48 pm

I've used the deleted file recovery for a mac based external hard drive. It shows me a list of files. Is there any way to view this in folders? Because all the files I need to restore were in a time machine backup, but I believe the brilliant mac "cleaned up backups" leaving nothing beyond last week. I could also just try to find the downloads folder and a couple other folders.

Amit Pandey
July 3, 2015 08:45 am

Hi Cris,

Yes you can view your files in folders. Just look at the left pane of the software where files are classified as per folders. You need to browse these folders in order to preview your recovered files.

July 20, 2015 11:35 pm

My issue is that the .sparsebundle file on my Time Machine volume is corrupted. My main hope is to find a few backed up files (rather than get the many weeks of system backups) from the sparsebundle. Is that possible? And what scanning option would you recommend?

Amit Pandey
July 21, 2015 04:35 am

Hi Jacob,

We recommend you to use Filter option of the Stellar Mac data recovery once scan is finished. You can filter files on the basis of Classic List, File List and Filter List. Else, insert .(file extension) in the software search box and recover. Do let us know further query.

Stellar Data Recovery

Randy Parker
September 16, 2015 12:54 pm

I have scanned a corrupted Time Machine backup partition on an external hard drive. The program had run for over 15 hours. When I returned to check the progress the program had terminated unexpectedly. No window, not running, period. What's going on?

Amit Pandey
September 17, 2015 05:12 am

Hello Randy Parker,

Could you please let us know as to what data recovery option did you ran on Time Machine drive using Stellar Mac data recovery V7.0. There are couple of procedure which you can follow in case of scanning a corrupt media:

1) Scan your corrupt Time Machine hard drive using RAW Recovery feature of the software.

2) Else create a DMG Image file of the Time Machine drive using Create Image option and start scan on it.

Please apply above methods and do revert back in case of further query.

Stellar Data Recovery

September 27, 2015 07:27 am

my problem is that the file recovered are encrypted and i want to decrypt them back

Amit Pandey
September 28, 2015 02:55 am

Hi Ghiath,

Could you please let us know what process did you followed to recover files? Also, were the files already encrypted before recovery? Or after recovery the files are asking for decryption?

Kindly provide us with the information and we will get back to you ASAP.


Keith Ogden
January 13, 2016 12:39 am

Will your software allow me to recover data from a network mounted time machine drive. In particular, can I recover from a time capsule volume?

Amit Pandey
January 14, 2016 06:29 am

Hi Keith,

Current version of Stellar Mac data recovery software doesn't allow recovery from Time Capsule or network mounted Time Machine. However, Mac Data Recovery next version will surly support Apple Time Machine Capsule. We will be releasing the next version very soon. Stay tuned.


May 8, 2016 01:02 pm


In response to one of the comment above, you mentioned that the future version of your SW shall support recovery from a Time Capsule disk mounted as shared drive. I installed the demo version of your current SW and it does not show the network drive / Time Capsule drive.

How close are you to releasing a support for recovery from a Time Capsule disk?

Amit Pandey
May 9, 2016 10:48 am

Hi Piyush,

Make sure that you are using Stellar Mac Data Recovery V7.1.0.0 Version. Below are steps to detect Apple Time Capsule in Mac Data recovery 7.1:

1. Open /Applications/Utility/Airport Utility
2. Connect your Apple Time Capsule & check connectivity, it prompts password to detect.
3. Once detected in system, Open Finder and Drive Pane in the Left Pane.You will see the Network drive there.
4. Click Network drive, You can see Folder name 'Data' inside it.
5. Open Data folder.
6. You can see Sparse Disk Image Bundle there.
7. Double click on Sparse Disk Image Bundle, It mount on Desktop as Time machine backup volume.
8. Run Mac Data Recovery Software, It will list & scan this Time machine backup volume.

Hope this helps!!! Do let us know your further query.

July 22, 2016 06:28 pm

How to recover a common folder stored on the Time Capsule?

Amit Pandey
July 26, 2016 06:50 am

Hi Ben,

1) Select sparse disk image bundle and double click the image bundle to mount it on the Mac desktop.
2) Run the software and select Time Capsule.
3) Choose Recover Data << Quick Recovery or Advance Recovery.
4) Let the software completes the scan.
5) Preview folder and recover files.

Hope this resolves your query.

July 31, 2016 08:39 pm

I have got a network mounted time machine. I can see it in the finder and can navigate to the sparse bundle. I would like to recover deleted backups from my time machine and installed your software for that purpose (the trial version to check if it can actually see something). However, the time machine is not visible in your software.

Amit Pandey
August 1, 2016 02:53 am

Hi René,

Because software doesn't support data recovery on network mounted Time Machine hard drive.

John C
August 2, 2016 03:42 am

I'm looking for the ability to archive my oldest TM backups as a fallback to worst case scenario. Any suggestions on using your (or other) software to do this? Thanks

Amit Pandey
August 2, 2016 04:52 am

Hi John,

Stellar Mac Data Recovery software recovers files deleted or lost from a Time Machine backup hard drive and Time Capsule Sparse Bundle Disk Image. This software isn’t a backup application however you can create the disk image of your hard drive using the ‘Create Image’ module, which can further use as a backup.

Hope it helps...


December 1, 2016 03:42 pm

While formatting and reinstalling MacOS Sierra to my MacBook Air, I accidentally formatted (quick method in DiskUtility) my Time Machine Partition. Just prior to formatting the drive I had backed up my Air, so if recoverable it should be exactly what I need. What would the best search settings be to recover the Time Machine backup volume, or just the files required for my Air, that resided on the formatted external disk?

December 2, 2016 01:10 am

I'm trying to recover a Time Machine backup on a volume that was formatted. I did a recover and it found the Lost Volume. However, I am not sure which option to select next, to scan for the time machine backup folders, to restore.

Amit Pandey
December 2, 2016 06:31 am

Hi Ryan,

You can run “Recover Data << Advance Recovery” on your recovered lost volume. Advanced Scan recovers lost files or data from formatted volumes. It takes more time in scanning but has better recovery results.


Robert Aschermann
March 23, 2017 10:23 pm

I have a 2TB image of a corrupted Time Machine drive on a 2TB external USB 3.0 drive. I have run the Advanced Recovery method because the Quick Recovery method kept crashing out. I have also enabled the option to use HD space in addition to RAM. It took about 6 hours to scan the disk image for the first step of the recovery. I have now been on a step called "Updating and filtering directory entries" for about 3 hours. How long should this take. It doesn't look like the process is hung, but it also doesn't look like much is happening.

Amit Pandey
March 27, 2017 03:33 am

Hi Robert,

Kindly try to recover the data directly from the Time Machine drive instead of the image of the corrupted drive.

If you want to recover the data from the image of the corrupted Time Machine drive then you should use the option "Search Lost/Deleted Volumes".

Good Luck!

Gus Miller
April 6, 2017 09:05 am


I've accidentally formatted a 2tb external drive. I've tried the advanced search on the 'Search lost and deleted' option, it took several hours and found 1 volume and then several hours later only recovered a few files that totalled 154mb.

However when I try the 'Deleted Recovery' option it's now showing me which files it has found, but it's taking over 24 hours and has got to 464GB and has completely slowed down. Is this normal? or is there something I could else I could be doing? Should I just stick it out for a few days?

Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you

Amit Pandey
April 10, 2017 11:15 am

Hi Gus,

As you mentioned you accidentally formatted the Time Machine hard drive but you choose to run ‘Search lost and deleted’ which is for deleted and lost partitions. In your case, you haven’t lost any partition. For formatted hard drive recovery you should choose ‘Recover Data << Advanced Scan.

About the slow scan process, your hard drive is 2 TB in size and hence software will take the time to complete the scan. Moreover, it's a Time Machine disk which usually takes more time to get scanned as compared to other HFS hard drives.

Since you have initiated the deleted recovery, it is advisable to let the software complete the scan.

Please feel free to share your further queries.

December 28, 2017 12:13 am

Can I get back a deleted partial (white) time machine file?

December 28, 2017 04:04 am

We request you to contact our technical support team , we are sure that our team will able to help you.

Warm Regards
Stellar Support

Ken Lehman
September 8, 2018 05:58 pm

I had purchased Stellar Mac Data Recovery - Premium - EN on September 6th and started to use it the same day so that I could recover lost/formatted Time Machine files on my 10 TB back up drive. After two days of deep scanning, the program finally reached Phase 3 of 4. However, after Phase 3 finished and I thought it would move onto Phase 4, Phase 3 went back to 0% and the program has not progressed since, seemingly frozen. The program is apparently still responding because according to Force Quit's window, it is not giving me the "application unresponsive" or "application not responding" warning in red. Can someone please help? Thank you.

September 10, 2018 05:50 am


Thank you for contacting us.

We understand the inconvenience caused to you.

As per the screenshot provided by you, we believe software has completes phase 3 scanning and still showing 1 second left.

We would recommend to stop the scanning process and wait for some time so that software will filter the directories and provide the recoverable results.

Thomas Schneider
November 23, 2018 05:32 pm

Hello, my problem may be a bit more complex: my time machine sparebundle image file was on a Synology NAS system that crashed. But, I could download via ftp the whole image file with exceptions: in the time machine sparebundle file, in the bands folder, I retrieved the 270000 files (8MB) except 14 that were on bad sector on one degraded disk of the Synology. So then, when I open the copied dmg file, I have an error 112.
What I want is to retrieve the most of the content from the sparebundle files, do you think it is possible ?
Thank you very much in advance,
Thomas Schneider


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